IMPERIAL VALLEY — Many are looking forward to giving and receiving gifts for the holidays, but an often-unintended gift shared amongst loved ones and associates during the holiday season is the flu.
Local hospitals take
decisive action to prevent the spread of the annually recurring virus,
officials said, and at these institutions the first step in the line of defense
against the flu is the flu shot.
“All admitted patients and those seen at the clinics
are offered an influenza vaccine prior to discharge,” said Graciela Magallanes,
a nurse at El Centro Regional Medical Center.
ECRMC requires all
hospital employees to receive an influenza vaccine and requires those unable to
receive it, or who decline it, to wear a surgical mask to help decrease the
transmission of influenza.
“ECRMC had a 90 percent
employee influenza vaccination rate during the 2018-2019 influenza season and
monitors employee influenza vaccination compliance throughout the year,”
Besides vaccinations, the hospital takes other
precautionary steps to assist in the prevention of influenza, including limiting
contact with sick individuals, encouraging everyone in the facility to cover
coughs and sneezes, use of frequent hand hygiene and enforcing visitor
ECRMC provides flu
prevention stations at all facility entrances. Patients with flu- like symptoms
are required to wear a mask. Employees receive annual training pertaining to the
influenza vaccine, prevention, diagnosis, transmission and impact of influenza.
Employees at ECRMC with flu like symptoms are excluded from work and encouraged
to seek prompt treatment.
As a reminder of how
serious the flu is, there has been one fatality tied to it reported in Imperial
County this flu season.
“A toddler was positive for influenza B and
passed away this month,” said Maria Peinado of the Imperial County Public Health
Department. “It is unknown if the child had been vaccinated. Last flu season,
five flu-related deaths were reported in Imperial County.”
The flu continues to
circulate at higher levels in Imperial County and flu activity is widespread
statewide, Peinado said. In California, 24 influenza-related deaths were
reported this year and the Health Department recommends everyone receive the
flu shot to avoid contracting the virus, she added.